As a longtime Newport Beach resident, I am furious, although not surprised, at the outcome of the city's new pride and joy, the Taj Mahal.
Let's look back for a moment. The original reason for a new City Hall was that Newport Beach had hired more employees per capita than any other city in the county. Too many to house. We are the home of the $250,000 beach lifeguards, remember? They say they needed more room to hire even more people. Why? We cannot afford the employees we have now.
This eyesore was sold as to us as a $50-million necessity. Its cost has, as expected, gone out of control. It is now a nearly $140-million spa for city employees and council members. Traffic on MacArthur Boulevard will be hideous. Taxes and fees are going up on everything that can be touched; ask the boat owners. Former Councilman Steve Rosansky says we needed it for our "city identity.' Newport Beach's identity is not tied to self-serving politicians or their palaces, it's about beaches and the harbor.
Enough already. It grieves me to say this, but we need yet another new law in California: cost overruns on government buildings to be paid 50% by California Public Employees' Retirement System (government employees retirement fund) and 50% by those who vote in favor of the original spending — including council members, of course.
I am tired of being lied to and treated like a fool by our public servants. Aren't you?
Book discussion leader
Overlooked in "Notable Passings for 2012" (Dec. 29) was my dear friend Charlotte "Charlie" Alexander, who died May 8 at the age of 75.
For more than 10 years, Charlie was the leader of the Book Discussion Group at the Newport Beach Public Library and brought insight and literary fun into the hearts and minds of many. An outspoken and quirky woman of mirth, she thrived when hosting her friends at monthly salons.
She will not be forgotten and will be remembered daily whenever I reach for a book.
Jacquelyn Beauregard Dillman